Steptoe and Son
Disclaimer: I do not own Steptoe and Son or claim to. All credit to the writers and the BBC. No copyright intended. Special credit to the actors who played the characters Harold and Albert, Harry H Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell, and the effort given by the actors who took up their roles, briefly in the BBC4 Docu-Drama, The Curse Of Steptoe, Jason Isaacs, as Harry H Corbett/ Harold, and Phil Davies, as Wilfrid Brambell/Albert, in March 2008.
Harold was lifting and dropping many boxes into a house. One after another, there seemed to be an endless supply, some heavier than others, causing him to be a little red faced, and damp on the forehead. His sleeves were rolled up, past his elbow, sleeves of a crisp, white, shirt. Finally behind him, came a woman, a little younger than he was, a blonde, wearing a smart suit, with a flower pinned on the front. Harold had finally managed, to get married, without his future wife, changing her mind at the last minute, or turning from him, because Albert had said something to her. Plus, for the first time, Harold had his own house, and had planned to move out of his life-long home, to start a new family, with his new wife, which came at a price, as he had stupidly proven how strong he was, while they were courting, it was down to him, to move all of the heavy stuff into the new house. Harold lifted a very heavy box, which appeared to be the last one, this time, his wife, directed him into the house with it, and he put it down, breathing heavily.
"Is that everything? Or do you have another two houses full out there?" he asked.
"It's not that bad Harold, besides my family are doing us a favour, our own house, isn't it wonderful?" she asked.
"It's not quite grown on me, as yet, but I'm sure I could think of ways, to help it feel like home," replied Harold.
He was smirking and his tone had been, high, in suggestive meaning. The woman looked at him, mischievously and smiled at him.
"Really? And what might they be?" she asked innocently.
Harold picked her up, and she screamed with surprise. He looked at her lovingly, and excitedly, as she put her arms around his neck.
"Lets look at the bedroom, Mrs. Rose Steptoe," he replied.
They were half way up the stairs, when Albert came running into the house, without knocking and shouted up to them.
Albert's son jumped, and lost his grip on his wife, who took a severe tumble down the stairs. Albert went white, and Harold's eyes widened with terror and worry. Albert rushed forward, as Harold ran down the stairs, in a state of panic.
"Oh God! Oh God! What we gonna do? Rose! Rose! It's Harold, speak to me..." began Harold.
"Don't touch her! You might make it worse! I'll go phone an ambulance," added Albert.
"Get two!" suggested Harold.
"Two? What for?" asked Albert.
"You! You're the reason she's like this! Barging in my new house, without knocking! You wait! You get that ambulance!" ordered Harold.
Albert ran into a different room, rather quickly for his age, and picked up the phone, once he spent a few moments searching for it. He looked back nervously.
"Hello? Ambulance please, police too...well my daughter in-law's fallen down the stairs, actually, he dropped her, and my son blames me, so the ambulance is for her, and the police is for him, when he hits me," he said.
Harold and Albert were sat in the waiting room of a hospital, neither daring to speak to the other, as Harold looked hopeful, at every doctor, who came near him, for news of his wife. Failing that, Harold started to pace up and down, repeatedly, until Albert became brave enough to complain.
"Sit down will you? You're making me dizzy and the doctors won't thank you for wearing the floor out," he said.
"Well if the doctors got a move on, and told me what was happening, they wouldn't have to worry about the floor, would they? Besides, what do they expect? I just married her and she ends up in here, what must they think of me?" asked Harold.
"It happens! Bet many's the time a groom's gone and dropped their bride, just getting her through the door, never mind up the stairs. What were you thinking doing that in the first place? Or don't I want to know?" replied Albert.
Harold turned around, and glared at Albert.
"Look mate, I'm really not in the mood for this! My wife could be seriously hurt in there, all because you don't know how to use a door bell! I don't have the patience for your, dirty little theories," he said.
"I shouldn't have to ring a bell to see my own flesh and blood!" snapped Albert.
"You do when they've just got married, in their own home and...Oh what's the use? I should have known! Should have known, that one way or another, this would be another relationship you'd cock up. Upsetting them is one thing, trying to kill them is something else! Oh dad! why can't you just let me live my own life?" asked Harold.
"I cocked up! I'm not the one who dropped her! Don't you go putting this on me, you ungrateful little toerag! I never said I ever had anything against you, living your own life, I never stopped you," replied Albert.
Harold looked at Albert, with amazement and shock. A few moments later, that turned into anger, although he didn't notice, a doctor walk towards him.
"You lying, little, swine..." began Harold.
"Mr. Steptoe?" asked the Doctor.
"Yes?" asked Albert and Harold.
"Husband of Mrs. Rose Steptoe?" added the Doctor.
"Yes, that's me," replied Harold.
"Right, well the good news is, there is no lasting damage. A slight head wound, but she's sat up in bed, we'll be keeping her in for observation," added the Doctor.
"Oh thank God! Can see her?" asked Harold.
"Of course, go straight through, unless you have other family to contact?" added the Doctor.
Harold paused and Albert looked at him questioningly.
"No, no, I'll just go in...thank you Doctor," he said.
Albert's jaw dropped slightly and he narrowed his eyes. When Harold left, he went in the opposite direction, and found the phone, and began to dial. Meanwhile, Harold looked rather nervous, as he approached Rose, who turned her head as he entered the room, but then looked away from him, causing his face to fall.
"Rose..." he began.
"Not even my wedding day, could go smoothly. I asked for one day Harold! Just one day! I could have easily put up with a marriage of disasters, if I just had this one day, but now I'm not so sure," added Rose.
Harold's eyes widened with concern and he went straight to her side, and knelt down, waffling away, to her as he did, desperate not to loose her.
"No, no, no...don't say that! No, it's not my fault, it aint even his fault, it's just one of them things. Don't let us fall out already, I mean, we only left the church a few hours ago," he said.
"I know, so I think it's better this way, you know before we...did anything," she said.
"You what?" asked Harold.
"Well, an annulment isn't anywhere near as bad as a divorce," she replied.
"Now hold on! Let's think about this, surely things aren't that bad? I mean, you manage to confuse dad when he acts up, we've just got a house together, surely we shouldn't waste all that, over a little accident?" asked Harold.
Rose paused for a moment, until her father entered the room, and Harold jumped up in surprise, and fear of his life. He had darker hair than Rose, and he was quite big for an old man, he looked at Rose with concern, then glared at Harold with dark eyes, threateningly.
"You! You promised me you'd take care of her!" he shouted.
"Dad..." began Rose.
"I meant it! Peter please...this was, far from intentional, it was an accident," explained Harold.
"It better had be! I swear to God, and I don't do that lightly, that if you hurt her again, intent or not, you will pay the biblical way, with my boot right up your..." began Peter.
Harold backed away in respectful fear, as Rose continued to look at Peter, pleadingly, silently asking him to lower his voice, and stop what he was doing.
"Dad! He's right, I know you're only acting this way because you care, but me and Harold, have to sort this out. It's our marriage after all," she said.
"That's right...hang about! You mean, there's still a marriage?" asked Harold.
Rose smiled in confirmation, until Albert entered the room. Peter turned to him and Harold, looked ready to throw him through the nearest window.
"Harold, there's no use...Oh hello! You must be Rose's father..." he began.
"I am. State your business!" ordered Peter.
"Peter, I regret to inform you, that this is my father, Albert. Dad, this is Peter, my father in law," added Harold.
"Why don't you two get to know each other outside?" suggested Rose.
Harold nodded, vigorously in agreement.
"What a wonderful idea?" he added.
"I suppose, if that's what you want Rose, I'm only doing this for her benefit, nothing else," said Peter.
"Absolutely, well noted, I assure you," added Harold.
Albert glared at them all.
"Don't you go turning your nose up at me! Harold! Don't let him speak to you like that!" he snapped.
"Dad!" hissed Harold.
"Like what?" asked Rose.
"I beg your pardon?" asked Peter.
"Well! saying it's for her benefit and not his! Or mine even, I don't want to speak to someone, to treats my son like that, you can shove your bleeding company!" snapped Albert.
Harold glared at him, along with the rest of the people in the room. He stood up, after being knelt at Rose, when he had begged her, not to annul their marriage. He pointed at Albert, in a threatening manor, like a crazed mad-man.
"Look! You awkward, little, pest! Peter is family! Therefore, you shall enjoy his company! Or else my fist will be spending time with your grubby, little, nose!" he shouted.
"Really Harold! There's no need to speak to your father so, remember God's commandments..." began Peter.
"God, didn't have a father like him, when he made those! If he did, it wouldn't have been honour thy father, it would be, shove thy father in an old folks home, as soon as you get the chance! I should have done it twenty years ago!" argued Harold.
"Harold!" warned Rose.
"Don't blaspheme! You told me you were a devout catholic," said Peter.
Harold looked uncomfortable, as Albert pointed at him and laughed, loudly and uncontrollably, as though he would never stop.
"Him? Devout Catholic? Don't make me laugh! He says all sorts of blasphemous language, regular times a day! Not to mention the amount of fibbing he does!" cried Albert, with laughter.
Harold rubbed his hands up and down his face, Peter looked at Harold, Albert and Rose, who had gone a very interesting colour.
"Did you know about this? Wait...you told me he was a devout catholic in the first place!" cried Peter.
Peter was out-raged, Albert was still laughing uncontrollably, and Rose, was still red, as she had been caught out lying.
"And taught him how to behave in church," she added.
"I've still got bruises from the times she kicked me under the table, at your house, just for almost saying something I shouldn't," added Harold.
"You lied to me!" shouted Peter.
"You'd never have let me marry him, otherwise. It wasn't done out of sin, it was done..." began Rose.
"A sin, is a sin. You either confess to God, and annul this marriage, or live with him, and damn your soul," added Peter.
Albert stopped laughing, Harold's face fell, and Rose began to cry, at her father's harsh words. Harold did his best to soothe her, as Albert couldn't hold his tongue.
"You can't say that! Do that! I mean! They're in love! They just got married! So they told a few fibs! That shouldn't split them up, there's nothing wrong with a few fibs in a family, never did him any harm!" he said, pointing at Harold.
"Albert, your son is forty, and only just managed to get married. I'd hardly call that no harm, besides, I always said he was too old for her. Make up your mind Rose, him or hell?" added Peter.
Harold looked at Rose hopefully, who wiped her eyes.
"Please, don't leave me, I promise, I'll make it worth...all the flames of hell, not that you'll go there anyway, only really bad people go there, not you, please," begged Harold.
"I'm sorry, I can't go against him, I'd loose my father forever if I chose you, I'd never expect you to choose your father over me," said Rose.
"I'd give him up any day, that's why I married you, got all out stuff in the house, I chose you over him, I made up my mind darling, don't worry!" begged Harold.
"I'm sorry Harold," she added.
Rose took off her ring, and gave it him back. Albert's face fell, as Harold looked at it, with deepest sorrow. Rose daren't look at him, although she was crying silently, it didn't stop Harold, kissing her on the cheek good-bye, before he left, Albert close behind him.
Harold walked through the door, and pulled down a suitcase from the top of the wardrobe, and began throwing many things into it. He then went over to his desk, and opened a draw to take out his passport, but spent a few moments searching for it.
"What you doing?" asked Albert.
"Looking for my passport!" replied Harold.
"Passport! What for?" asked Albert.
"Father, tomorrow I will sign whatever, so that me and Rose can end our short, yet not so sweet marriage. After that, I am going on the next possible flight to Las Vagas, going to get very drunk, and marry the youngest, prettiest bird I can find, and take her to one of those, drive through wedding things, and bring her home after I have consummated the marriage, so that if she does meet you, and hate your guts, it's tough! Because I aint getting a divorce!" replied Harold.
As he packed, he got himself a drink. Albert started to take things out of the suitcase, as Harold's back was turned as he had a few drinks.
"You don't want to do that Harold, not now. You've had a bit of a shock, you need to calm down," said Albert.
"I can do that on a sixteen hour flight, or however long it is! If I still want to do it, I will, if not, I shall have a little holiday, probably get accidentally drunk, and do it all anyway. Best plan I ever had, should have done it years ago, instead of waiting around here, for a woman, to accept me for who I am, not run as soon as she sets eyes on you, and is rather attractive. I'll be waiting until I'm sixty and even then, God won't have created such a woman," added Harold.
"She's out there somewhere Harold, just not too far...you never know, you might meet her on the rounds, tomorrow even," said Albert, folding up a shirt.
"I'm not going to work tomorrow! I have a marriage to annul, and a holiday to prepare. Besides, I met most of the girls, on the rounds or at the Skinner's Arms, none of them came close, apart from Rose...Oh why did she choose that over-religious git over me?" asked Harold.
Albert walked over to Harold and patted him on the shoulder.
"Never mind Harold, he'd have found out sooner or later. You couldn't have played the catholic for long, he'd have been more furious if there'd have been nothing he could do, plus you'd have to put up with him for the rest of your married life. You wouldn't have wanted that," he said.
"What's wrong with that? I'd still have my wife, I could have taken it, at least I'd have had a married life. I'd have converted if I had to, I loved her dad, I did. I'd have done anything for her. Instead I'm back here, with you, in this dingy, little hole...to think I had a house and everything! I was this close to escaping!" cried Harold.
He slammed the glass he had been drinking out of down, and returned to his packing, snatching the shirt that Albert held in his hands. The door-bell rang and Harold paused, he looked over at the door hopefully, but then shook his head.
"Answer the door dad, it'll be the milkman or someone," he muttered.
Albert went to the door, as Harold started arranging things in his suitcase. He turned around, as Rose entered the living room, looking as though, she hadn't stopped crying since he left the hospital.
"Hello Harold," she said.
"Rose, how-how is your head?" asked Harold.
His temper suddenly left him. Rose had a small bandage on her head, she smiled slightly before she responded.
"Oh, I'll live...going somewhere?" she asked.
"Erm. Yes, once we've got...the...end over with, I'm taking a break. I'd been saving up, really for things for the house, our own bed and furniture, but as we won't be buying that, I thought I'd put it to some use," replied Harold.
Rose had to dry her eyes.
"I see. Perhaps it'll do you good, to get away...Harold..." she began.
"No, don't...pity me. Things are bad enough, without that," he said.
"At least let me apologize. I'm not as strong as you, I can't just leave my father. If something happened to him, I'd never forgive myself, if we weren't on speaking terms. It's not that I didn't- I don't love you enough, I just..." began Rose.
"Then stay, don't leave me! If you loved me, you wouldn't leave me," argued Harold.
"It's not that easy. I'm sorry, I did everything I could to stop him finding out. It was worth lying, just to know you," she said.
"That's kind of you, but I can't accept you're apology. Now I'd like you, to get out of the house, and out of my life, before the pain... causes me... to... damn well hang myself!" he wept.
Harold turned away from Rose, who was also crying. She took a couple of steps forward, as though planning to comfort him, but changed her mind, before her hand touched his arm. Rose ran out of the house, and passed Albert who ran back into the living room, but was almost hit by the suitcase, being flung across the room.
"What did she come back for? Silly cow! I swear she did that on purpose!" shouted Harold.
"Temper..." warned Albert.
By this point, Harold looked as though, he had escaped from a mental health unit.
"Temper? I'll give her temper! What did I do with that gun?" asked Harold.
He looked around the room, and rummaged around the sides of the walls, until he found a shot-gun, and went to leave the room. Albert tried to stop him, and they had a huge tug-of-war fight, around the living room. Harold tripped over the suitcase by the door, and Albert, picked up the gun, as Harold got up, and chased him around the living room.